Special Central Bureau of Investigation judge KM Dave has sought “round-the-clock” police protection for himself and his family, reported The Indian Express on Tuesday. Dave is hearing a case related to the murder of Right To Information activist Amit Jethva in 2010, and cited its “sensitivity” as the reason for seeking security cover.
The prime accused in the case is former Bharatiya Janata Party MP Dinu Bogha Solanki, who is currently out on bail.
According to unidentified officials, AR Patel, who was then the principal sessions court judge, had written a letter to the CBI director on behalf of Dave in June. “In the letter [reference number 295/2018], the principal judge has mentioned that special judge KM Dave is conducting trial of sensitive case of RTI activist Amit Jethva murder case and therefore, adequate security should be provided to the judge’s residence by paramilitary force,” said an unidentified CBI official.
Dave, however, has refused to comment on the matter. “It is in process,” he told The Indian Express. “I would not like to talk about it. You ask the concerned department.”
Recently, the central government ordered the Intelligence Bureau to conduct a security cover assessment of the judge, said an unidentified CBI official. “Based on their report, security will be provided to the judge. We don’t have any update on the issue till date,” he added.
Jethva, a wildlife and RTI activist, was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court in 2010 after he had filed a petition alleging illegal mining of limestone in Gir forest. Although the Ahmedabad crime branch had given Solanki a clean chit, the CBI had arrested and named him in its chargesheet in 2013.
In June 2017, the High Court ordered a retrial in the case and said a new judge should be appointed to conduct fresh day-to-day proceedings. Jethva’s father Bhikhabhai had moved the High Court, demanding retrial and investigation. The High Court called the trial at the CBI court a “miscarriage of justice” as it was believed to have been manipulated by Solanki.
In November, Solanki surrendered before a special CBI court a week after his bail was revoked by the Supreme Court. The top court had cancelled the former MP’s bail till the eight key eye-witnesses in the case were examined. After the re-examination ended in December, Solanki was granted bail by the special CBI court.